Before the staccato metal riffs and the big hair and the screaming fans, Static-X frontman Wayne Static was Wayne Wells, humble farm hand from rural Michigan.
"There wasn't much to do other than pick asparagus after school so that's what I did," laughs Static on the phone. "And it was a hard job let me tell you, you're walking around in a field all day bent over holding a bucket picking these five-inch stalks out of the ground. Back-breaking work!"
His afternoons spent working the land may be over but the 43-year-old singer-guitarist still covers plenty of ground these days as leader of Los Angeles-based industrial-rockers Static-X, the group he formed in 1994.
In 2009 he commandeered the quartet through two US tours, a European jaunt and last month, Australia - all to promote the band's sixth album Cult Of Static, released last March.
"Then that's going to be it for Static-X for the year," says Static, who's already writing tracks for the band's next record plus a long-overdue solo album he hopes to have out next year.
"More and more these days I think you really need to get records out faster and faster," he says. "Albums don't have the same lifespan they used to have because CD sales are not what they used to be. So you need to be very timely with your releases."
With simple technology precipitating an influx of internet-generated start-up bands in recent years, Static believes a gridlock of new music has invariably diverted the attention of potential Static-X fans.
"There's just so much out there, this huge barrage of bands," he says. "And I think it's kind of a bad thing really because it just waters everything down. Then on top of that the labels don't have any money because no-one's buying CDs anymore. But luckily we can still tour and make money like that so we'll have a career as long as we want."
In the wake of his marriage to former adult film actress Tera Wray in early 2008, Static says Cult Of Static was borne out a period of quiet domesticity. Hunkered down in his home studio, he wrote the album alone late at night and as such it "has a really dark atmosphere and vibe to it".
A dedication to the band's die-hard fans, it has already matched the sales of 1999's platinum-selling nu-metal hit Wisconsin Death Trip.
"They appreciate that we've always been prepared to come out at the live shows and put in 1000% on stage," says Static. "And it's just awesome to hear how my music has impacted people's lives and helped them through hard times. I never get tired of hearing those kinds of stories because I know music was really important for me as a kid growing up.
"I hear from our soldiers overseas how they really love listening to our music out on the battlefield and crazy shit like that. I think the music is definitely great for action and high-energy kind of stuff. I love that it's appreciated by a lot of people."